This past week, the question came to me “Rick, How do I better qualify my appointments?” . We all understand that if we have all the proper ingredients to the appointment, it means we have a higher probability of being able to close the sale (assuming that we have a match in what we sell with what the Bride is looking to buy). Today I will talk about how to do your best to set up the appointment to be able to better close the sale.
There are a few crucial elements to a proper appointment. The two things that I want you to insure before they come is A) All or most decision makers/influencers will be there and B) They understand what will happen at the appointment (primarily how much time the appointment should take)
Part 1: Many wedding professionals ask “who else will be joining the Bride/Couple at the appointment”. The problem with this question is it leaves a wide gap for the Bride to sneak through by simply saying something like, “Oh I will be there by myself”. After that, you have no room to move. If you ask them another question related to who is coming then you are acting “salesy” which will put the Bride on the defense.
The best way to get the decision makers/influencers is to ask the following question:
“Who will help you in making this decision?”
After asking this question, you will then know if there are in fact people who will help her (and hopefully she will be truthful with you). At that point you need to ask her, “What will it take to get them (the people who will help her in her decision) with you to the appointment?” She may wiggle and say something along the lines of “I am just looking for __________ and will let them know”. We on this side of the purchase know that it is key to getting these folks to the appointment or it will become all about price to that other person. If that other person is a financial key (i.e. they will write a check) then they will not understand why what you sell is so expensive (though it may be high in value), the value in what they are purchasing and most likely will try to get the Bride to buy less or not at all.
Part 2 of preparing for the appointment mainly involves the timing of the appointment. There is a certain amount of time you require to properly present what you are selling. If you do not have this time, you will be rushed or leave out crucial parts of what you have found to be important for the Bride to know. Asking her , “How much time will you have for our appointment on _______?” will let you know if she is really there to find out about you. An answer of “an hour” says she is willing to spend some time getting to know you. Fifteen minutes usually won’t work. If the Bride shows up late and tries to rush you through, the best thing is to reschedule. (let’s face it, she is usually not going to listen to you for ten minutes, then whip out her credit card, sign the contract and run out the door)
One of the false ingredients of preparation is asking budget. The reason why this is a false measurement is at this stage is she has not built enough emotional ownership in what you sell. Getting her to the appointment usually stretches out her budget because she starts to take ownership or can imagine having what you sell in her mind. Most of us have experienced a Bride who said she had a low budget but after meeting with you spent much more than her stated allowance. That is why you should ignore the budget question at this point.
As I often state, nothing is a slam dunk, but take these steps and see if you find more weddings at the end of the year.